My Beloved Son Dimitri
(Mission Hills, CA)
My sweet silly boy
On August 9th, 2010 my whole world turned upside down. That's the day my sweet silly son went to Heaven. He was 23 years and 27 days old. It all started almost exactly 2 years earlier to the day on August 11th, 2008. He had been playing basketball 4 days earlier and came home complaining of right sided pain and nausea after being "bumped" in the side by another player. On the 11th, I received a phone call at work from my youngest daughter saying, "Mom, Dimitri's eyes are yellow". I left work and went home and took him to the emergency room. We didn't leave the hospital until the last week of October.
While we were there my son suffered through so many procedures as they attempted to figure out what was wrong. Eventually, there was no answer and he was doing so poorly that they had to do a liver transplant.
He did well with the transplant and came home on 21 different medications. Unfortunately, during his hospitalization for the liver issues he also developed bone marrow suppression so he wasn't making his red and white bloodcells or platelets the way he was supposed to. We had to bring him to his doctor twice a week, a 100 mile round trip in Los Angeles traffic, for transfusions.
Ten weeks after coming home he came into my room at 2:30 am in a panic because he couldn't stop vomiting and he had a fever. Back to the ER we went. He was admitted and began to deteriorate quickly. He was in septic shock. He had an infection in his colon. They did emergency surgery and removed half of his colon. He was on life support for 8 days. When he finally opened his eyes he was on the ventilator and he had an ileostomy bag. It was so painful to explain this to a 21 year old.
We dealt with the bi-weekly transfusions, multiple hospitalizations due to infections and issues with his ileostomy as a team. Both of us knew the drill. Sudden trips in the middle of the night to Cedars Sinai were the norm. Finally, 6 months after the GI surgery they were able to reverse the ileostomy. He was the happiest kid ever.
Now we had to deal with the bone marrow suppression. The docs decided on a round of chemo. It didn't work. We then realized that our only choice was a bone marrow transplant. His little sister was a perfect match. The transplant was to take place July 19th, 2010. At the end of May he started to have shoulder pain that wouldn't respond to pain pills or massage. He went for his transfusion and the doctors ran some labs. He was admitted May 27th for acute lymphocytic leukemia. He never came home. At least he didn't come to the home I wanted him to come to. He went into septic shock from an overwhelming infection that took over his body because he had no immune system.
I had medical power of attorney. He didn't want to be sustained on machines so once the doctors told me there was no hope I agreed to the DNR. I hugged him as his poor tired heart took its final beats and I sang a song to him that I used to sing to him when he was a baby.
I love and miss my son. I don't think I'll ever heal or ever be the person I was. I'm thankful I had him for 23 years, but angry that he went before me. His father and brothers and sisters and nephews and other family members are also left broken hearted. We are all struggling with how to move forward. Life will never be the same.